Mojo - December 2010

We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for December 31, 2010

Fri Dec. 31, 2010 3:30 AM PST

Army Spc. Erik Martin uses a footbridge to cross over a river during a dismounted mission to Khwazi village, Afghanistan, Dec. 14. Members of Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul visited the village to survey a site for a future well project. PRT Zabul is comprised of Air Force, Army, Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development and U.S. Department of Agriculture personnel who work with the government of Afghanistan to improve governance, stability and development throughout the province. U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson

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The Year in Islamophobia: Timeline

| Thu Dec. 30, 2010 12:00 PM PST

It's never a good sign when you find yourself longing for the halcyon days of George W. Bush. But after a year in which right-wing activists and politicians identified America's greatest threats as mosques and infants, you could be forgiven for feeling a bit nostalgic for the man who responded to the 9/11 attacks by emphasizing that "Islam is a religion of peace."

So, is America Islamophobic? It depends. For the overwhelming majority of Muslims, America's still a pretty sweet place to work and pray (just watch out for these fellas). And as conservatives like Jeff Jacoby are quick to point out, when it comes to reported hate crimes, Jewish Americans still have it worse. Much, much worse. But with precious few exceptions, anti-Semitism is confined to the paranoid fringe; you'd never see a slew of presidential candidates line up to, say, protest the construction of a synogogue.

2010 was the year Islamic fearmongering officially went mainstream. Here's a quick look back at how the heck it happened. Enjoy.

 

The Year in Islamophobia on Dipity.

 

 Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.

The Year in Racism

| Thu Dec. 30, 2010 4:00 AM PST

Obama's election was heralded as the beginning of a new era of "post-racial" American politics—a notion that seems to have been scuttled as quickly as the idea that his presidency would end partisan bickering. The backlash against Obama and his Democratic allies has sped the rise of a right-wing fringe deeply suspicious of immigrants and minorities. While immigration reform stayed on Capitol Hill's backburner, Arizona's punitive immigration law set off a political firestorm that spilled over into the 2010 elections—with some decidedly ugly outcomes.

Acknowledging its image problem, the Republican Party recruited minority (and female) candidates in droves and managed to achieve some historic, ceiling-shattering victories in the midterms—electing the nation's first female Hispanic governor, the first female Indian governor, and South Carolina's first black Republican member of Congess, among other accomplishments. But even the party's own suffered some withering race-based attacks on the 2010 campaign trail. As the next election approaches, the GOP could face even more of a conundrum when it comes to race, immigration, and identity politics—squeezed between a right-wing fringe that's taken hold of its conservative base and a growing minority electorate.

We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for December 30, 2010

Thu Dec. 30, 2010 3:30 AM PST

Army Chief Warrant Officer Ronald Brooks talks with residents of Khwazi village, Afghanistan, about the site of a well, Dec. 14. Members of Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul visited the village to survey a site for a future well project. PRT Zabul is comprised of Air Force, Army, Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development and U.S. Department of Agriculture personnel who work with the government of Afghanistan to improve governance, stability and development throughout the province. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson)(Released)

After 16 Years Behind Bars for an $11 Robbery, the Scott Sisters Will Be Free at Last

| Wed Dec. 29, 2010 8:32 PM PST

The following announcement was issued today by Haley Barbour, Governor of Mississippi, regarding Jamie and Gladys Scott. Mother Jones was among the first non-local media sources to report on the Scott sisters case, back in March. (The story was later covered by the AP, New York Times, and others.) The full story of their arrest and incarceration, and Jamie Scott's struggle to stay alive in prison, can be found here, with follow-ups here and here.

Dec. 29, 2010

GOV. BARBOUR’S STATEMENT REGARDING RELEASE OF SCOTT SISTERS

"Today, I have issued two orders indefinitely suspending the sentences of Jamie and Gladys Scott.  In 1994, a Scott County jury convicted the sisters of armed robbery and imposed two life sentences for the crime.  Their convictions and their sentences were affirmed by the Mississippi Court of Appeals in 1996. 

"To date, the sisters have served 16 years of their sentences and are eligible for parole in 2014.  Jamie Scott requires regular dialysis, and her sister has offered to donate one of her kidneys to her.  The Mississippi Department of Corrections believes the sisters no longer pose a threat to society.  Their incarceration is no longer necessary for public safety or rehabilitation, and Jamie Scott's medical condition creates a substantial cost to the State of Mississippi.     

"The Mississippi Parole Board reviewed the sisters' request for a pardon and recommended that I neither pardon them, nor commute their sentence.  At my request, the Parole Board subsequently reviewed whether the sisters should be granted an indefinite suspension of sentence, which is tantamount to parole, and have concurred with my decision to suspend their sentences indefinitely.   

"Gladys Scott's release is conditioned on her donating one of her kidneys to her sister, a procedure which should be scheduled with urgency. The release date for Jamie and Gladys Scott is a matter for the Department of Corrections.

"I would like to thank Representative George Flaggs, Senator John Horne, Senator Willie Simmons, and Representative Credell Calhoun for their leadership on this issue.  These legislators, along with former Mayor Charles Evers, have been in regular contact with me and my staff while the sisters' petition has been under review."

Re-Stimulating the Stimulus

| Wed Dec. 29, 2010 1:00 PM PST

When President Obama's $787 billion stimulus package went into effect, the idea was simple: finance short-term, "shovel-ready" infrastructural facelifts around the country to put people back on payrolls. But that logic rested on the assumption that the states and cities receiving federal money would spend it quickly.

For Los Angeles and other cities around the country, that's been easier said than done.

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An Imbalanced TARP Equation

| Wed Dec. 29, 2010 4:00 AM PST

Of late, it's been mostly good news for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). The big banks have paid the government back (with interest). Even AIG announced that banks have agreed to lend it more than $4 billion to pay the Fed back for bailing it out back in September 2008. But it's a different story for community lenders.

We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for December 29, 2010

Wed Dec. 29, 2010 3:30 AM PST

A soldier mans a security outpost at a construction site. Active duty and reserve component Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalions 40, 18 and 26 secure and fortify a remote combat outpost on the eastern edge of Khavejeh Molk, Afganistan. The village is located approximately 25 miles north of Kandahar and is being used as a patrol base for the U.S. Army 1st Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment. Combined efforts by joint forces will restrict movement of Taliban insurgents and help secure self-governing efforts in Afghanistan. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Michael B. Watkins

Soldier Vows to Quit Army Over Gays

| Tue Dec. 28, 2010 11:21 PM PST

Well, it's happened. The sky has fallen, the enemy has broken through the gates, and the empire's vast, gritty disintegration has begun: Some dude in some National Guard unit has vowed to leave the service, rather than work alongside the gays. Check out the text of his resignation letter below, after the jump.

According to a story called "The Gaying of America" on World Net Daily—the bastion of right-wing watchdog journalism that gave you birtherism—comes this revelation: "President Obama's repeal of the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy is already damaging the U.S. military." The evidence? A lieutenant colonel who doesn't want to be named, serving in an Army National Guard battalion in a state that wasn't identified, has tendered his resignation over the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. And he says he knows of other officers who plan to follow suit. Clearly, all is lost. We might as well roll the tanks out of Baghdad and Afghanistan now and help the Taliban get on with their socialist community organizing or whatever:

Cryptome Exposes CIA Hypnosis Programs

| Tue Dec. 28, 2010 1:51 PM PST

Before there was WikiLeaks, there was Cryptome. (And it's probably a safe bet that after WikiLeaks is long gone, there will still be a Cryptome.) Via Spencer Ackerman at Wired's Danger Room, here's a pair of memos, posted to the intelligence-secrets website, that show the CIA was all up in that Inception-type business in the Cold War: using deep hypnosis to create unwitting double agents and implant secret communications in their brains, where they can't be intercepted! Cue evil laugh! "I assure you, it will work," the agency's mesmerism cheerleader writes. Full docs are below the jump.